Cable-free GPUs are the future of ultra-clean PCs


An Asus GeForce RTX 4070 Megalodon graphics card seen from the rear on a table.

Asus gave us a glimpse into the long run at Computex 2023 with its concept graphics card that’s primarily cable-free. As an alternative of getting any conventional 8-pin or 16-pin energy connectors, the corporate showcased an RTX 4070 with a proprietary interface that pulls energy immediately from the motherboard.

Stories now counsel that the corporate is fairly severe concerning the idea and is about to introduce merchandise with the brand new interface later this 12 months. In accordance with WCCFTech, Asus has confirmed that it’s engaged on mass-producing the “cable-free” GPU at Bilibili World 2023 exhibition in Shanghai. 

Principally, the extra PCIe-like interface slots proper right into a suitable motherboard and has the ability connectors on the rear. So whereas there are energy cables concerned, they don’t feed immediately into the GPU. What this implies is that you just nonetheless need to take care of the cable mess (since it’s now on the again), however at the least you don’t have to stress about melting 12VHPWR connectors

One of many greatest issues to think about right here is that the cable-free GPU additionally wants a motherboard that helps this technique of energy supply. Asus had additionally demoed a suitable Z790 TUF Gaming motherboard that includes all energy connectors on the again. Notably, the proprietary connector on the motherboard for the GPU energy supply was labeled as “GC_HPWR”. Whereas that title is short-term, it’s essential that Asus brings at the least a handful of such motherboards whether it is hoping to achieve any success. It is usually anticipated that these new GPUs and motherboards might be priced barely increased in comparison with the prevailing ones. 

An Asus TUF Gaming Z790 BTF motherboard with hidden connectors, shown from the rear.

Having energy connectors on the rear of the motherboard will not be a brand new idea. For those who keep in mind, Gigabyte introduced a refresh of Project Stealth in January that’s aimed toward streamlining the method of cable administration and enhancing airflow inside a PC case. The equipment included a Z690 motherboard with connectors on the again, in addition to an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card and a cupboard with the entrance panel that includes a mesh design. It’s an ingenious method to hold (most) cables hidden away from sight, thus making a system that’s a lot cleaner and far more optimized for environment friendly airflow. 

All of this sounds fairly attention-grabbing, and whereas I’m all-in for clutter-free cable administration, I have already got sure eventualities in my head that may be potential points. With regards to Asus’ idea, not solely are the ability connectors for the GPU being moved to the again, however they’re additionally supplying as much as 600 watts of energy by means of the motherboard through the brand new interface. That doesn’t sound very nice, at the least to me. One might simply fry their whole motherboard resulting from a free connection or a defective PSU.  

This takes me to the following downside at hand. Not all PC instances have the availability to accommodate motherboards with energy connectors on the again, and I’m not even speaking concerning the m-ATX and mini-ITX classes. Even when your present case does one way or the other provide the house, one must be additional cautious as you would bend or break these connectors with all the additional cabling that’s often stuffed on the again. 

It’s too early to say whether or not these ideas might be foolproof or not, however they’re undoubtedly intriguing and may very well be the following step of evolution in PC constructing. 

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